How Did G.I. Joe The Pigeon Win The Dickin Medal For Gallantry?

The Dickin Medal for Gallantry is awarded to brave beasts in Great Britain. Before World War 1I, it had never been given to an animal that wasn’t English. But that was before the English met G. I. Joe.

In October 1943, the English and Americans were fighting the Germans. English soldiers were trying to capture a town from the Germans. They radioed the American air force and asked them to drop bombs on the town.

Then 100 English soldiers suddenly chased the Germans out of the town. They were very happy until someone remembered that the Americans were about to drop bombs on the town. Instead of bombing Germans, the Americans would now be bombing their English friends.

How could they stop the planes? The English radio had been destroyed in the fighting, but they did have an American homing pigeon named G. I. Joe. They tied a message to the bird’s leg and released him. G. I. Joe took off and flew through heavy German gunfire.

He flew the twenty miles to the American base in twenty minutes and reached the airfield just as the planes were about to take off. When the American general read the message attached to the little bird’s leg, he stopped the bombers. G. I. Joe’s bravery had saved the lives of 100 English soldiers.

After the war, G. I. Joe was flown to England to receive the Dickin Medal, the first non-English animal to earn it.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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